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Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu Paperback – June 13, 2006
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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From Publishers Weekly
Using a format similar to that of his previous work, The Sex Lives of Cannibals, Troost creates another comical and touching travel memoir. Troost and his wife, Sylvia, move from busy Washington, D.C., to Vanuatu, a nation made up of 83 islands in the South Pacific. As Sylvia works for a regional nonprofit, Troost immerses himself in the islands' culture, an odd mix of the islanders' thousand-year-old "kastoms" along with imperialist British and French influences. This really means that Troost gets to live in a nice house while he gets drunk on kava; dodges "a long inferno of magma and a cascade of lava bombs" at the "world's most accessible volcano"; and checks out the "calcified" leftovers from one of Vanuatu's not-so-ancient traditions, cannibalism. At the end of the book, the couple move to Fiji so that Sylvia will have state-of-the-art medical care when she gives birth to their first baby. While modern-day Fiji provides little fodder for Troost's comic sensibilities, the birth of his son enables him to share some deeper thoughts and decide it is "time to stop looking for paradise." A funny travelogue with a sentimental heart, Troost's latest work genuinely captures the search for paradise as well as the need for home. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Praise for The Sex Lives of Cannibals:
“A comic masterwork of travel writing.” —Publishers Weekly
“Troost has a command of place and narrative that puts his debut in the company of some of today’s best travel writers.” —Elle
“A delightful, self-deprecating, extremely sly account of life in a place so wretched it gives new, terrible meaning to getting away from it all.” —National Geographic Adventure
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As with his first adventure related in The Sex Lives of Cannibals, the writing is entertaining and fresh, and very unlike other travelogues and biographies. This 2nd volume is a bit more polished than the first, and covers more ground (more islands, multiple countries), but with a similar tone.
It's not typical lowbrow travel humor, which usually plays off expected American audience ignorance of the "rest of the world", and bores the many of us who are not ignorant, nor is it the dry cultural observations of a guidebook.
Instead, the self-effacing humor narrating the adventures and mis-adventures of author Troost and his girlfriend in one of the most obscure parts of the globe provides plenty of chuckles (and actual laugh-out-loud moments) while providing a meaningful look at unusual cultures (eg, he talks to people who experienced cannibalism), while living abroad where few people have even traveled.
The writing is briskly entertaining with a conversational style, and the complete absence of "this is dumb, why am I reading this?" moments.
In the era of the internet and accessible international travel, a travel narrative that isn't either humdrum or sensationalist is rare, and a humorously entertaining one is a truly unusual find. Both this and his previous book are Highly Recommended.
that I read it slowly to enjoy every bite and morsel. I also would like to thank his wife for affording him the time to write these wonderful stories/books. How anyone could not love and enjoy these books is beyond me. Thank you J. for the many hours of enjoyment, education and
humor which shall stay with me long after their reading!
we have in the U.S.A. today. I'm reading this book for the second time now and do not look forward to the time when I get close to the end. Don't tell me to get a life. I have one and it includes Maarten's adventures that keep me laughing out loud. He is priceless.
Usually, I'm not a fan of Hunter Thompson-esque writing, but this book is GOOD. Worried that it would be incredibly non-p c, with a title like that, but that's just an over the top statement of his experiences, part of his cockeyed view of experience. (No native folks were dissed in this volume...) This is a great vacation read, sort of a variant flashback to Anthropology 101, and will give you a greater appreciation for creature comforts such as air conditioning.
This book was a pleasant, easy and enjoyable read. I breezed right through it. As research for Vanuatu, it is good, in particular because there is not much written on Vanuatu.
My one complaint is that the book seemed to "drop off" a bit with the transition to Fiji. The author's wife delivered a child at that point. So, I suspect that his focus changed. If you are researching Fiji, it would not be as good as a resource.